Power Company Shuts Off Power To Family Dealing With ALS
Posted By: Erich Spivey Created: 1/13/2009 10:16:54 PM
MIDDLEBURG, FL -- Monday night, the lights went out, along with all the power for Johnny Croft and his medical equipment. The only light came from candles.
"There's nothing I can do about paying the bill. I tried and I just don't have the money to pay it," says Debbie Croft.
Johnny was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease two years ago. Electricity is now a big part of his daily life, keeping all the equipment running and keeping him alive.
"That's plugged in all the time, that's plugged in at night just in case he needs it," says Debbie Croft.
The Crofts cut out cable, installed low-wattage light bulbs and trimmed expenses. But they still struggle to pay the bill.
Debbie Croft says, "Our electric bill is about $250 a month regardless of what we have on, what we don't turn on, if we don't use the heat."
Crews from Clay Electric cut off the power Monday. They came back a day later to turn it back on, and now the family has 48 hours to pay the $521 bill to keep the power on for good.
"There's not a plan that I'm aware of that will guarantee medically that we'll keep your lights on if you don't pay your bill," says Dale Furlong with Clay Electric.
Clay Electric couldn't comment specifically about The Crofts case. But a manager says they try to accommodate special needs.
"We see the notes on the screen, that say medically essential and we try to go a little bit further for those people with extensions and arrangements. We know the need is definitely there," says Furlong.
"Especially with the temperatures the way they are right now, it's kind of hard to survive without electricity." says Debbie Croft.
The JEA also offers an application for people who need power for medical needs. But again, it doesn't take away the customer's responsibility to pay.